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Submitted by , posted on 04 May 2004

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The images presented above refer to the graphic engine DigtalNature, on which I work at my spare time.

So, these images were rendered with speed 12 and 14 milliseconds (this equals to 83 and 71 fps) using Direct3D, on the system AMD Athlon XP+1700, 256 RAM, GeForce-4 Ti4200-128Mb, system bus rate 133 MHz, AGP-4X, but I have to stress that those framerates were rendered under "Debug mode" of VC6.0 compiler (with "Release mode" speed will raise to ~7 and ~8 ms).

The engine has been developing for a long time (it still developing), the main purpose of the engine is a flight simulator project.

The main features, which were designed for the project are:
  • Huge landscapes and small RAM & hard disk requiriments: The engine works with the landscapes, which dimensions greater than 100x100 Km, detail level = 10 Meters (it means that we have height map with resolution more than 10000x10000 pixels). Special for reducing map size compression techniques were developed on the basis: DCT, which uses Loeffler's fast multiplication transformation and Huffman compressing, FELICS compression techniques for loseless compression during map design, and 4-bit RLC technique as well. All compression techniques are transparent for game-play process. Final map size (100x100 Km, 10 meters) = ~50 Mb for game, and ~90 Mb for map design process.

  • Huge forest areas. A special algorithm for fast 3D forest rendering was developed. It uses impostors for far forest rendering and complete 3D trees for close distance. The forest is rendering with batches, so time required for rendering 10x10 Km forest is about 3-6 ms (depends upon the distance to the ground from the air).

  • Fast clouds rendering technique, uses multiple forware scattering techique by Mark J. Harris (, the technique uses impostors and renders clouds of a very high quality with fast framerates.

  • Water effects. Water technique uses Environment Bumpmapping for fast rendering performance.

  • Grass. The grass is another interesting feature of the engine. It renders good-looking grass (depends on the artist talent) within the distance 100 meters. I'd like to stress, that grass is the object which requires rendering time less than 1 ms.

  • Roads, decals. The engine supports roads and decals. One major thing is that roads always lying on terrain at any terrain LOD (no artifacts with popping above the ground and drowning under the ground). Of course, all the above features are on the choice of user. The user can disable, or reduce quality of these features.

    More pictures see at:
    e-mail: regmail at I write programming articles. One of them is about forest and terrain rendering technique: (NOTE: it is in Russian, English translation coming soon, and it will be uploaded to

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